FAQs for International Students

I live too far away to visit Madeira for a tour and admissions interview. Can I arrange an interview by phone or via Skype?

Yes. A Skype interview or a telephone interview can be arranged for those who cannot visit Madeira because of distance or other factors. Interviews are typically scheduled during the week between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. EST. 

Are there special interview arrangements for applicants from China?

We do have a separate interview process for applicants from China. Please click here for details.  

Do all international students who apply to Madeira have to take the TOEFL?

If you attend a school in which English is not the primary language of instruction, you must take the TOEFL and participate in the International Student English Program as a Madeira student. If you attend an American school abroad, you are not required to take the TOEFL. 

What is Madeira’s TOEFL test code?


Does Madeira offer international students support if their first language is not English?

Yes. Click through to read more on the International Student English program and the way in which it prepares students for academic success in the American education system.

Why is the Co-Curriculum program important?

The Madeira Co-Curriculum program is nationally recognized and a highlight for all Madeira students. A five week module is reserved for experiential learning on or off campus. This kind of learning cannot come from a book. It allows students to put theory and skills into practice and gain hands-on experience in many different settings and work environments, including the offices of senators and representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The Co-Curriculum also has “learnerships” abroad in places such as Kenya and Peru. These experiences immerse students in other cultures not as tourists but as interns like those in the domestic Co-Curriculum program. Learn more about Co-Curriculum >>

What is it like to be a new international student?

Learning to adjust to a new culture can be challenging at first, but the Madeira school community is very welcoming and the orientation process is very helpful. SWING (Students Welcoming In New Girls) will connect you with a current student before you arrive, and you may exchange emails before your first day. When you arrive on campus the first day, you will already have a friend.

How are roommates assigned in the first year, and will I get to pick my roommate after that?

Before arriving on campus, you will fill out a roommate form that includes a list of your interests and favorite activities. The Dean of Students Office tries hard to match students who have similar interests. New roommates meet soon after arriving. After your first year, you get to choose your roommate. Original roommate pairs may choose to stick together. 

What happens during weekends at Madeira?

Each week, the Dean of Students Office provides activities and transportation to many different places, including sporting events, concerts, dances, trips to the mall, or to many cultural institutions in nearby Washington, D.C. such as The Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian, art galleries, and museums. In order to go off campus, there are rules to follow, including getting proper permission from your parents.

If you choose not to go off-campus, you can join any dorm activity that is planned each week, or attend an on-campus mixer (a dance with a boys’ school), a pumpkin carving contest (an autumn event), or a bonfire with s’mores (a sweet American treat). You could bake cookies or have dinner at a faculty member’s home on campus. There’s always plenty to do at Madeira on weekends, and if you wish to study, our library is open seven days a week.

Visit Weekends at Madeira to see all the fun activities our student activities committee plans.

What is a visa and who needs an I-20?

Most students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States will seek an F-1 (non-immigrant) student visa, which is the most common type of visa for those who wish to study in the United States. Basically, your visa is permission to enter the United States for a specific purpose such as attending high school or college. The I-20 is a government form used in connection with the F-1 visa and is issued through SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information system), an internet-based system that maintains data on foreign students and exchange visitors before and during their stay in the United States.

Madeira will issue an I-20 in the summer before you arrive.

I need assistance with the visa and I-20 process. Who can help?

You will need to contact your embassy to initiate the visa process. When you are admitted to Madeira, the I-20 will be initiated and processed by the Admissions Office. Any questions regarding your I-20 can be sent to admissions@madeira.org

Which adults on campus can be most helpful to international students?

Each student is assigned an advisor, and your advisor is always available to assist you and help keep your parents informed about your academic program. You will meet regularly with your advisor each week, but if you need your advisor’s help more often, just ask. Advisors are available to answer your questions. 

Is the Madeira campus safe?

Madeira’s security officers are on campus 24 hours a day. All dorms are locked electronically and cannot be accessed without an electronic passkey. We have a full-time director of security, a former police chief of Fairfax County, Virginia, who has introduced the most sophisticated security measures to our program. 

What happens if I get sick?

Our Health and Wellness Center has 14 beds and is staffed by three full-time nurses who are available on-call 24 hours a day when the health center is closed. If you feel sick and cannot attend class, you will stay in the health center under a nurse’s care.